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SEASON ANALYSIS: [1]

The 2021 Pacific hurricane season was a below-average season and the least active season since 2010. The season officially began on May 15 for the East Pacific, June 1 for the Central Pacific and ended on November 30. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the East and Central Pacific basin and are adopted by convention. However, tropical cyclogenesis is possible anytime of the year.

The season's first system, Hone developed exactly a month before the official start of the Central Pacific. Hurricane Andres interacted with Atlantic Tropical Storm Claudette which dumped extremely high rainfall over Mexico which caused $520 million in damages. Hurricane Blanca was not a costly storm but dumped heavy rain over the Hawaiian Islands on July 3. Hurricane Carlos became the first East Pacific hurricane to make landfall over Mexico since Hurricane Lorena of 2019 and Tropical Storm Dolores did not cause any damage and deaths. In August, Hurricane Kate emerged in the basin as a moderate tropical storm and reached its official peak intensity as a Category 3 major hurricane.

Hurricane Enrique developed on August 29 to become the strongest storm of the season and made the strongest landfall in both Baja California Sur and California. Tropical Depression Seven-E dumped torrential rainfall over Central America. Hurricane Felicia was the last East Pacific named storm and became a Category 4 major hurricane, dumping torrential rainfall across Mexico. Hurricane Iona was the last system of the season.

The aftermath of the season was overall costly despite being inactive with Mexico being the hardest hit by all of the storms, with the worst being Enrique and Felicia. In total, the season produced units of approximately 164 units of ACE.

Timeline

Wikipedia:Saffir-Simpson scale

May

Tropical Storm Hone became the first system of the season on May 1, exactly the month before the official start of the Central Pacific season. Hurricane Andres formed on May 26 and became the first hurricane after 4 days.

June

Hurricane Blanca became the first and only storm in June this season and became a Category 4 major hurricane.

July

Hurricane Carlos became the first East Pacific hurricane to make landfall over Mexico since Hurricane Lorena of 2019. Tropical Storm Dolores was the last of two storms in July with no damage and deaths reported.

August

Hurricane Kate reached its official peak intensity in this basin. Hurricane Enrique was the only storm that formed in the month and crossed into September and became the strongest storm to make landfall over Baja California Sur and California.

September

A tropical depression dumped torrential rainfall across Central America. Hurricane Felicia was the only named storm of the month and became a major hurricane. Hurricane Iona became a minimal hurricane and was the final system of the inactive season.

ACE Total

In total, the 2021 season produced approximately 164 units of ACE.

Systems

Tropical Storm Hone

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Akoni 2021-05-05 0602Z Ssspp1.png Akoni 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationMay 1 – May 6
Peak intensity70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  987 mbar (hPa)

A low-pressure area had developed in the East Pacific on April 27 but emerged in the Central Pacific afterwards. Unexpectedly, a trough caused wind shear to decrease, allowing more development.

On May 1 at 12:00 UTC, it developed into Tropical Depression One-C and strengthened further into Tropical Storm Hone after 18 hours. Later, Hone began to become associated with a frontal system and headed northeast, peaking early on May 5; it made landfall over Ewa District, Oahu at its peak intensity. The next day, unfavorable conditions caused Hone to become a post-tropical cyclone.

Hone delivered a maximum of over 11 inches across Oahu which caused $3 million (2021 USD) in damages along with a fatality.

Hurricane Andres

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Andres 2021-06-04 0600Z Ssspp1.png Andres 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationMay 26 – June 6
Peak intensity80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  982 mbar (hPa)

A tropical disturbance that detached from the ITCZ and gradually developed due to lightly moderate wind shear. Despite land interaction, the disturbance continued to develop and headed west-northwestwards.

On May 26, Tropical Depression One-E developed south of El Salvador at 00:00 UTC, eventually becoming Tropical Storm Andres after 12 hours. Conditions were slightly better but strengthened gradually strengthened, eventually heading east-northeast slowly and became a Category 1 hurricane early on May 30 despite interacting with Atlantic Tropical Storm Claudette. Andres eventually reached its initial peak intensity as a minimal hurricane with winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and a pressure of 985 mbars just before making landfall over Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca at 12:37 UTC on the same day. Land interaction caused Andres to weaken and emerged back out at sea due to again, Claudette. Andres then began to undergo another strengthening trend and peaked early on June 4. Shortly after peaking, it began to weaken due to cooling sea surface temperatures and became a remnant low after about two days.

Andres resulted in $520.6 million in damages across Mexico and Central America combined along with 27 fatalities.

Hurricane Blanca

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Blanca 2021-06-28 1200Z Ssspp1.png Blanca 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationJune 19 – July 4
Peak intensity140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min)  948 mbar (hPa)

A low-pressure area detached from the ITCZ on June 14 and during the next few days, began to gradually develop a well-defined circulation in a favorable environment.

The low-pressure area finally developed into a tropical depression on June 19 at 12:00 UTC and became Tropical Storm Blanca after 12 hours. On the same day, June 20, it reached its initial peak as a moderate tropical storm with winds of 51 mph (87 km/h) winds and a pressure of 997 mbars. Shortly after peaking, increasing wind shear from an upper-level low caused Blanca to lose deep convection and degenerated into a remnant low early on June 22.

Initially, redevelopment was not expected but the upper-level low unexpectedly dissipated, allowing post-Blanca to encounter redevelopment the next day, June 23.

On June 24 at 00:00 UTC, Blanca eventually redeveloped into a tropical depression and strengthened faster than its initial intensification phase and became a hurricane after 36 hours passed. After that point, Blanca began to head west-northwestwards and develop an eye, eventually peaking early on June 28. About an hour after Blanca peaked, the major hurricane began to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle and fell to a Category 3 major hurricane; Blanca cleared its eye again and regained Category 4 intensity, reaching its secondary peak intensity with winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) and a pressure of 951 mbars. Another upper-level low caused Blanca to encounter gradual weakening as shear began to increase and advisories were passed on the CPHC on July 1 at 06:00 UTC. Shortly after emerging in the Central Pacific, wind shear began to increase faster and its eye dissipated. After two days, specifically July 3, it made its closest approach to the Hawaiian Islands; Blanca then headed northwards with deep convection starting to dissipate and degenerated into a remnant low the next day.

The Hawaiian Islands all received heavy rainfall along with $72 million (2021 USD) in damages with one death reported.

Hurricane Carlos

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Carlos 2021-07-07 1800Z Ssspp1.png Carlos 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationJuly 2 – July 8
Peak intensity100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  981 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave left West Africa on June 21. No development occurred until it emerged in the East Pacific Ocean a week later where conditions were more favorable. As a result, the wave developed more moisture during the next few days as it began to earn a well-defined circulation.

On July 2, the wave developed into Tropical Depression Three-E while heading west-northwestwards. The next day, July 3, it curved northwestwards and strengthened into a tropical storm, being named "Carlos" by the NHC. On July 5 at 00:00 UTC, Carlos eventually became a hurricane and reached its initial peak after about 12 hours with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) winds and a pressure of 986 mbars. Shortly after peaking, an upper-level low caused Carlos to weaken back to a tropical storm the next day. The upper-level low dissipated shortly afterwards which allowed it to restrengthen while heading northeast and became a hurricane on July 7 at 06:00 UTC. Carlos intensified faster despite moderate wind shear, displaying a small eye and peaked after 12 hours as a Category 2 hurricane. Shortly after peaking, rapidly increasing wind shear and an interaction with a frontal system caused it to weaken to a Category 1 hurricane just before making landfall over Culiacán Municipality, Sinaloa the next day, July 8. On the same day, Carlos rapidly degenerated into a remnant low. The remnants headed northeast and dissipated on July 12 over North Carolina.

Carlos caused $113 million (2021 USD) in damages along with 4 deaths, mostly across Sinaloa.

Tropical Storm Dolores

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Dolores 2021-07-27 0113Z Ssspp1.png Dolores 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationJuly 25 – July 29
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  996 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave emerged in the basin on July 18 and during the next few days, developed a big amount of convection.

On July 25 at 00:00 UTC, it developed into a tropical depression while heading north-northwestwards and became Tropical Storm Dolores after about 18 hours. In a marginally favorable environment, it continued to undergo a strengthening trend. Dolores eventually peaked west of Socorro Island on July 27 and began to weaken due to cooling sea surface temperatures. Deep convection began to get sheared away from the system as increasing wind shear contributed its weakening trend and degenerated into a remnant low on July 29.

Dolores did not caused any damage and deaths across the affected land areas.

Hurricane Kate

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Kate 2021-08-07 1307Z Ssspp1.png Kate 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationAugust 1 (Entered basin) – August 14
Peak intensity120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  963 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Kate eventually entered the basin on August 1 as a moderate tropical storm and then began to undergo a strengthening trend. On August 3 at 12:00 UTC, Kate eventually intensified into a Category 1 hurricane. In a normally favorable environment while heading northwestwards, Kate then developed a well-defined eye and became a Category 3 major hurricane on August 7, peaking on the same day, too. Shortly after peaking, increasing wind shear caused Kate to weaken and its eye started to disintegrate though it restrengthened back to a Category 2 hurricane on August 10 at 00:00 UTC, reaching its secondary peak intensity with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) winds and a pressure of 980 mbars. Despite that, Kate then began to undergo gradual weakening and lost all of its deep convection on August 14.

No areas were affected and no deaths were reported offshore as a Pacific storm.

Hurricane Enrique

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Enrique 2021-09-02 2118Z Ssspp1.png Enrique 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationAugust 29 – September 7
Peak intensity165 mph (270 km/h) (1-min)  915 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave had departed West Africa late on August 21. In an area of marginally favorable conditions, the wave rapidly headed westwards and by the time it emerged in the Caribbean Sea, the wave developed into a low-pressure area.

The system developed into Tropical Storm Enrique early on August 29 hours after a recon aircraft noted its precursor developed gale-force winds. In a favorable environment, it became a hurricane the next day at 12:00 UTC. Enrique, at that point, underwent a fast-paced intensification trend and headed northwards, becoming a Category 5 on September 2 at 12:00 UTC and peaked at 21:00 UTC. Shortly after peaking, Enrique began to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle and headed northwestwards, weakening to a Category 4 the next day at 06:00 UTC. Enrique then began to undergo a weakening trend and made its first landfall over Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur with winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) and a pressure of 947 mbars, becoming the strongest storm to make landfall over Baja California Sur on September 4 at 12:03 UTC. Hostile conditions caused Enrique to weaken at a fast pace and began to accelerate, making another landfall over Long Beach, California with winds of 50 mph (85 km/h) winds and a pressure of 993 mbars, becoming the first tropical storm to make landfall over California in satellite history. Enrique became a remnant low on the same day, September 7.

Enrique resulted in $7.3 billion (2021 USD) in damages along with 72 deaths, becoming the costliest Pacific hurricane as of November 3, 2021.

Tropical Depression Seven-E

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
07E 2021-09-11 1704Z Ssspp1.png 07E 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationSeptember 8 – September 12
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave left West Africa on August 25. Heading westwards, it had encountered little to no development due to moderate wind shear. However, when it reached the Western Caribbean Sea, conditions were more favorable for development.

On September 8, it developed into a tropical depression a few hours after emerging in the Caribbean Sea. The NHC and other models were expecting it to strengthen into a tropical storm. However, moderate wind shear restricted intensification and curved northeastwards, eventually moving over El Salvador on September 11. The depression then disintegrated and became a remnant low the next day.

Six-E dumped torrential rainfall over Central America, with a maximum of 18 inches over El Salvador. In total, it caused $145 million (2021 USD) in damages along with 32 deaths.

Hurricane Felicia

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Felicia 2021-09-26 0603Z Ssspp1.png Felicia 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationSeptember 21 – October 2
Peak intensity145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min)  931 mbar (hPa)

The outflow of Hurricane Wanda eventually summoned a tropical wave on September 12. Heading westwards, it gradually organized until it merged another tropical wave in which it developed faster as wind shear decreased.

With a well-defined circulation reported by a recon aircraft, it developed into Tropical Depression Eight-E late on September 21. Heading west-northwestwards, it was eventually upgraded into Tropical Storm Felicia, becoming the last East Pacific named storm of the season. Eventually on September 23 at 18:00 UTC, Felicia became a hurricane. It then began to undergo a fast intensification trend and peaked early on September 26. Felicia then began to move erratically south of Mexico due to weak steering currents, eventually underwent a weakening trend but a few hours after being downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, Felicia eventually began to strengthen at a faster rate and reached its peak intensity again early on October 1 just before making landfall over Tecomán Municipality, Colima on the same day at 01:08 UTC. It then began to undergo a rapid weakening trend, dissipating the next day.

Felicia resulted in $723 million (2021 USD) in damages along with 44 fatalities.

Hurricane Iona

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Ema 2021-10-03 1917Z Ssspp1.png Ema 2021 track Ssspp1.png
DurationSeptember 30 – October 7
Peak intensity75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  990 mbar (hPa)

The ITCZ eventually summoned a tropical disturbance on September 25. In favorable conditions, it began to absorb more moisture.

On September 30, it eventually developed into the final tropical depression and the next day, was upgraded further to Tropical Storm Iona. Iona then began to undergo a strengthening trend and eventually became a Category 1 hurricane early on October 3 at 06:00 UTC. It eventually peaked on the same day as a minimal hurricane, weakening shortly after peaking due to increasing wind shear. Late the next day, Iona made landfall over Big Island, Hawaii with winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) winds and a pressure of 994 mbars. Iona then continued its weakening trend, eventually weakening further to a tropical depression though it regained tropical storm intensity just before degenerating into a remnant low on October 7.

Iona caused minimal damage across Hawaii.

Storm names

The following list of names was used for named storms that form in the northeastern Pacific Ocean during 2021. No names were retired, so this list will be used again in the 2027 season. This is the same list used in the 2015 season except for Pamela, with replaced Patricia though the name was not used in this season.

  • Andres
  • Blanca
  • Carlos
  • Dolores
  • Enrique
  • Felicia
  • Guillermo (unused)
  • Hilda (unused)
  • Ignacio (unused)
  • Jimena (unused)
  • Kevin (unused)
  • Linda (unused)
  • Marty (unused)
  • Nora (unused)
  • Olaf (unused)
  • Pamela (unused)
  • Rick (unused)
  • Sandra (unused)
  • Terry (unused)
  • Vivian (unused)
  • Waldo (unused)
  • Xina (unused)
  • York (unused)
  • Zelda (unused)

For storms that form in the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's area of responsibility, encompassing the area between 140 degrees west and the International Date Line, all names are used in a series of four rotating lists. The next four names that were slated for use in 2021 are shown below, though only two of them were used during the season.

  • Hone
  • Iona
  • Keli (unused)
  • Lala (unused)

Retirement

On April 16, 2022, at the 44th session of the RA IV hurricane committee, the World Meteorological Organization retired the names Enrique and Felicia from its rotating naming lists due to the number of deaths and amount of damage they caused, and they will not be used again for another Atlantic hurricane. They will be replaced with Elijah and Freya, respectively, for the 2027 season. This marked that this season was the first ever Pacific hurricane season to retire two names.

Season effects

This is a table of all of the storms that have formed in the 2021 Pacific hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, damage, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave, or a low, and all of the damage figures are in 2021 USD.

Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
2021 Pacific hurricane season statistics
Storm
name
Dates active Storm category

at peak intensity

Max 1-min
wind
mph (km/h)
Min.
press.
(mbar)
Areas affected Damage
(USD)
Deaths


Hone May 1 – May 6 Tropical storm 70 (110) 987 Hawaii (Oahu) $3 million
Andres May 26 – June 6 Category 1 hurricane 80 (130) 982 Southern Mexico (Oaxaca), Socorro Island $520.6 million 27 
Blanca June 19 – July 4 Category 4 hurricane 140 (220) 948 Jamaica, Cuba, The Bahamas $900,000 None 
Carlos July 2 – July 8 Category 2 hurricane 100 (155) 981 Northwestern Mexico (Sinaloa), Southern United States $113 million
Dolores July 25 – July 29 Tropical storm 60 (95) 996 Revillagigedo Islands, Baja California Peninsula None None 
Kate August 1 – August 14 Category 3 hurricane 120 (195) 963 None None None 
Enrique August 29 – September 7 Category 5 hurricane 165 (270) 915 Central America, Mexico (Baja California Sur), Western United States (California) $7.3 billion 72 
Seven-E September 8 – September 12 Tropical depression 35 (55) 997 Central America, Yucatan Peninsula $145 million 32 
Felicia September 21 – October 2 Category 4 hurricane 145 (230) 931 Central America, Mexico (Colima), Texas, Louisiana $723 million 44 
Iona September 30 – October 7 Category 1 hurricane 75 (120) 990 Hawaii, French Frigate Shoals Minimal None 
Season aggregates
10 systems May 1 – October 7   165 (270) 915 $8.876 billion 181

See also